The American Revolution in North Carolina

James Moore

Colonel over the New Hanover County Regiment of Militia - 1775
Colonel over the 1st NC Regiment - 1775-1776
Brigadier General in the NC Continental Line - 1776-1777

During the Summer of 1775, James Moore was the Colonel/Commandant over the New Hanover County Regiment of Militia as Royal Governor Josiah Martin made his flight from New Bern to the HMS Cruizer just off the coast of Cape Fear.

On 8/21/1775, James Moore was commissioned as Colonel/Commandant over the 1st NC Regiment, which was considered to be "Provincial Troops" at that time. On 11/28/1775, this regiment was placed on the Continental Line.

Col. James Moore led the 1st NC Regiment at Rockfish Bridge in Cumberland County to meet the growing Loyalist army in early 1776 as they marched towards the coast. The Loyalist army went around Col. Moore's entrenched forces and on to the battle of Moore's Creek Bridge on 2/27/1776. Many historians claim that Col. James Moore was the official commanding officer at the battle of Moore's Creek Bridge on that fateful day, but most records indicate that he was too late to actually participate in the short engagement.

Col. James Moore led the 1st NC Regiment and detachments of other units at the battle of Brunswick Town on 4/6/1776 against the British army under Gen. Henry Clinton, which had come ashore to stretch their legs before deciding whether to remain in this region or move on to Charlestown, SC, which they ultimately did.

On 4/10/1776, James Moore was commissioned as a Brigadier General in the NC Continental Line. He was given command over three of the four new NC Continental regiments created at that time - the 4th NC Regiment, the 5th NC Regiment, and the 6th NC Regiment, and his new unit was considered to be the 1st NC Brigade, reporting to Maj. Gen. John Armstrong, who had just been given command of the Southern Department. Soon afterwards, with the threat of a British invasion, the Continental Congress sent Maj. Gen. Charles Lee southward to take over the Southern Command and he arrived in Charlestown, SC during June of 1776. Brig. Gen. James Moore and almost all of his 1st NC Brigade remained in North Carolina to guard Wilmington, while Brig. Gen. Robert Howe and the 2nd NC Brigade, plus two companies from the 4th NC Regiment, went to Charlestown and joined up with Maj. Gen. Charles Lee.

After Maj. Gen. Charles Lee was recalled to the Northern Department later in 1776, Brig. Gen. James Moore was given command over the Southern Department, which now included nine (9) regiments of the NC Continental Line and six (6) regiments of SC Troops, not yet officially on the Continental Line, but soon to be. With yet another threat of an impending British invasion, Brig. Gen. James Moore was ordered to Charlestown, SC on 11/29/1776. All NC Continental officers are also ordered to join him there. However, none actually started marching southward until early January of 1777. It soon became apparent that the British were not coming, and Brig. Gen. James Moore went back to North Carolina for unknown reasons.

In mid-February of 1777, the Continental Congress ordered all NC Continentals northward to join up with General George Washington. The three new NC Continental regiments struggled to recruit enough men to warrant marching, and many officers used this as an excuse to remain at home.

On 4/15/1777, Brig. Gen. James Moore unexpectedly died from what was diagnosed as "a fit of Gout in his Stomach." This was not just a blow to North Carolina but to the entire Continental Line.

James Moore was born c.1737 in New Hanover County, NC, the son of Maurice Moore and his second wife, Molly Porter. In 1758, Gov. Arthur Dobbs appointed James Moore as a captain over the newly-built Fort Johnston at the mouth of the Cape Fear River. During this time, Capt. James Moore took his company into South Carolina to help defend that colony against the Cherokee.

During 1766, James Moore and others led a large group to protest the Stamp Act at Gov. William Tryon's residence in Brunswick Town. Five years later, James Moore was appointed a Colonel over an Artillery unit during the War of Regulation, now serving under Gov. William Tryon instead of opposing him. He went on to serve in the House of Commons in the Colonial Assembly from 1764 to 1771, and again in 1773, representing New Hanover County.

In August of 1775, James Moore was elected to the 3rd Provincial Congress. It was this congress that authorized the creation of the 1st NC Regiment of Provincial Troops on 9/1/1775, and commissioned James Moore as its Colonel/Commandant.

James Moore married Anna Ivey, and they had one son - James Moore, Jr., who was wounded at the battle of Eutaw Springs, SC on 9/8/1781.

Samuel A'Court Ashe, an early North Carolina historian, described James Moore as "perhaps the most masterful military man furnished by North Carolina to the war of independence."

Click Here for an online biography of James More as provided by 

There are numerous genealogical and historical sources online pertaining to James Moore and his family.

© 2019 - J.D. Lewis - PO Box 1188 - Little River, SC 29566 - All Rights Reserved